Jennie, a young lady in her early 30’s, went for a relaxed, peaceful walk in a national park. The sky was blue, the air fresh, and the trees whispered in the breeze. She chose a well worn path that many hikers often took. After about ten minutes, she came to a fork in the trail.
The path to the left seemed wide and smooth with very few hills or curves. The one on the right was narrow, with roots and half buried boulders. It curved left to right and up and down deep into the thick forest. The left path seemed inviting and clear of thorny vines. The right path was initially not appealing. It was the more difficult way.
Which path do you think she chose?
Each of us is given the opportunity to choose the right or the wrong path. Honor and character are never achieved easily. Brokenness, humility, and servanthood are definitely not found on the wide path on the left where most people travel. Who in their right mind wants to become broken, humiliated, and servant-like? These three qualities are desperately needed in a Christian Marriage. Both marriage partners need to regularly ask God to lead them on this demanding journey. In the Bible, Joshua 24:15 says,
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
We want to encourage you to choose the best, yet more challenging path of following the Lord Jesus with complete abandon. Choose to love and serve your mate without condition. Give up your quest to find your inner self. It will only lead to disappointment and despair. Call upon the Lord Jesus. Choose to issue kindness and peace instead of contention and rage in your home. Apply Jeremiah 6:16:
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
Allow yourself to be brought low. Ask that God grant you His wisdom and grace to love, affirm, and protect your mate regardless of their ability to earn it. In the book of Proverbs, Chapter 4: verses 12-15, we receive advice:
“When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” (Bold added)
Continuing in Proverbs, Chapter 4, look at verses18 and 19:
“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”
- Look up. Look up to Christ alone. Gaze upon Him and only occasionally glance to the concerns of this world. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 Your mate will be encouraged!
- Look out. Look out beyond yourself and your pain. Ask Jesus to give you eyes for those in need of compassion, patience, and understanding. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 What an example you will be for your family!
- Look past. Look past people’s sins and help them whether they are of a foreign faith, background, or citizenship. Look past how others have hurt you. See beyond the injury they have caused. Forgive and choose to love. Be as Christ would be to them.
- Look away. Turn your eyes away from wicked, worthless things. “I have made a covenant with my eyes.” - Job 31:1 “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” Psalm 101:3a Ask, “Will this honor God?”
- Look ahead. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 Too many husbands and wives are wearing their bright badge of suffering from the wounds of their past. If not dealt with, this will cripple their present relationships. They seem not interested in giving out compassion because they are always wrapped up in demanding to receive it. Forsake this self-focused cry for pity.
- Look to. Look to your present and your future in light of eternity. Don’t get bogged down with the temporary things of this earth. Help the poor, issue forgiveness, and share with those who need the Savior. Learn to serve the Lord together so you and your mate develop a humble reputation for loving Christ and serving others. Only what is done for Christ will last forever.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (Bold added)